THE SPAWN OF SATAN
5 June 2003
As bad as yesterday was is about as good as today was. It's nice when things reverse
themselves, isn't it. No, I didn't (I don't think) suddenly lose 1.6 lbs, but the frenzy
over Fotolog, which got crazy for about an hour there, finally got resolved. But not
before I'd decided that Pay Pal is the spawn of Satan, determined to drive me mad, I tell
If I weren't already way past menopause, I'd say that today was like having PMS. At one
point I realized I was probably being very unreasonable and very frantic over something
pretty silly, but that didn't stop me.
When I posted my entry last night, I learned that Fotolog was now only letting people
upload one photo a day for free and that if you wanted to upload more it would cost you $5
a month, which seemed decidedly reasonable. I had been getting so much out of it anyway
that I felt I should help support the site.
The only problem was that Pay Pal wouldn't let me into my account unless I posted my
"membership number," which it said I could find on my credit card statement
(which hasn't come yet). That put me in an impossible situation. I'm sitting here with
card in hand ready to contribute, Fotolog is sitting there just waiting to find out what I
had for lunch yesterday, and in between was this gigantic wall called "Pay Pal"
which I couldn't leap in a single bound or bore a hole through by hitting it with my head
(I tried both--virtually, of course).
I complained about it on the Fotolog discussion board, but there was a holy war going
on among those who felt that the guys who ran the place should absorb all the costs and
keep it free for the whole world and those who agreed with me that $5/month was not an
unreasonable sum. There were hot words, and nasty signs, and hijacking and who knows what
all. My pathetic little complaint hardly seemed worthy, compared to all the crap that the
poor guys who run the place were taking.
Once my brain finally calmed down a bit, I realized I had other options. First, I wrote
to Peggy and asked her to log in as me and make a payment for me. We do this occasionally
and we figure that whoever owes whom will even out when I'm in Australia. But she didn't
check her e-mail last night and I knew once it got past a certain time that it would be
another 12 hours or so before I could expect that she might have an opportunity to pay for
So since that didn't work, I realized I had a different credit card I could use. I
could log in as Walt and use our joint card. Only I got to the place where you have to
enter your security code and I didn't know if his was the same as mine, so I couldn't. I
tried calling him, but he wasn't at his desk.
Then I tried then to change the billing name on the different card to mine, but got a
"tsk tsk...can't do that" message from Pay Pal, letting me know that I already
had an account and if I wanted to add a different card, I just had to log in with the
@#(*%^&* membership number and I could do it. And of course the one thing I didn't
have was the membership number.
OK. So let's try a different e-mail address. Not basykes, but my AOL account, which
doesn't even contain my name. But that nasty "billing name and address" tripped
me up again. Wouldn't let me do it.
Finally, ever inventive, I decided to throw myself on the mercy of Pay Pal, write to
their "contact" address and explain the problem I was having. That's when I
discovered that in order to ask a question, you have to log in with your #$%^ membership
I sent a note to "Cypher," one of the two guys who runs Fotolog and someone
who (a) keeps his own food log, and (b) has my food log on his list of favorites, so we at
least had something in common. I sent him a screen shot of the message I was getting from
Pay Pal, I told him everything I'd tried and that I was so frustrated I'd started to eat
I guess he's been there. He very generously set me up with a free month, or at least
time until my credit card bill comes in and I find out what my membership number is. I may
have it tattooed on my forehead so I don't ever lose it again.
But I've discovered through all of this that there are wonderfully kind people out
there. Someone else--a stranger--who checks my foodlog actually wrote and offered to buy
me a free month. And, when she read her e-mail, Peggy did pay $5 for me, so all is calm
and serene yet again.
Things all over the place seem calmer today and I hope I'm in good shape to go off this
evening to review Mama Mia.